All My Life’s Jessica Rothe and Harry Shum Jr interview

Courtesy of Universal

All My Life is based on the true love story starring Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day films) as Jennifer Carter and Harry Shum Jr (Glee, Shadowhunters) as Solomon Chau, an engaged couple who sped up their wedding date after finding out Chau had cancer. We’ve had the chance to chat with both actors about the film, which hits theaters this Friday on December 4th.

Nerd Reactor: What was the audition like, and did you have chemistry right away?

Jessica Rothe: I have to say, I think we did have the chemistry right away. I was lucky enough to be cast in the film first. I don’t even know if that’s the right way to say it. I got to audition.

Harry Shum Jr: It’s because you’re super talented!

Jessica Rothe: What I’m going to say is Harry knocked it out of the park. For our chemistry read, he was the only person who not only brought so much humor, love, warmth, and intelligence to solve, but also the emotional complexity and depth of someone who is facing a terminal illness. And that’s something that is so integral to telling this story and understanding the complicated and heartbreaking journey that these two people go on.

And so I fell in love with his acting, but then I also fell in love with him as a human being. He is just such a bright, wonderful ray of sunshine. He’s so funny and goofy. As you know, I cry quite a bit in this film, just a little bit. It was so nice that at the end of every scene, Harry and I had each other to comfort each other and check-in and make sure we were both okay. We had a blast.

Harry Shum Jr: You know, Jess is a special human. You really are a special human. I wasn’t familiar with Jess’ work, only through hearing how wonderful of an actress she was and then getting to act with her. After I watched all the Happy Death Days, I became a Jessica Rothe fan in that element.

But when working with her, I remember that chem read that we had, and I instantly felt this connection. Sometimes you’re like, “Well, I’m trying to do my thing and never felt like the other was trying to just do their thing,” which happens a lot. We were trying to support each other and trying to make each other look good. And that was really, really special. Because to have that right away, I was like, “Oh, this could work.” And we could keep making some really great moments. As Jessica said, we always made sure that we were in a good place. And at least we were doing everything we can to help the other get to that place, whatever it was needed. So a lot of crying, a lot of hugging, and a lot of making sure that we had each other’s back, which was a big part of this movie and the theme of this movie as well.

Nerd Reactor: Did you feel nervous about tackling a project that’s based on a true story?

Jessica Rothe: Oh, 100%! It was very nerve-wracking, but we were both very fortunate that we had the opportunity to talk to the OG Jen Carter. I actually spoke with her for almost three hours the first time we talked, and she, in an incredibly generous way, gave me permission to create whatever character I wanted to… to not feel beholden to her or worrying about what she would do or what she would think of the character. It was more about honoring the essence of the relationship and honoring their love and honoring the the way that they fought for each other. And so because of that, I was able to step onto set and just be completely present with Harry, and we were able to find the love story that existed within this script and between us. That was such a joy.

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